Livestock Research for Rural Development 26 (12) 2014 Guide for preparation of papers LRRD Newsletter

Citation of this paper

Effect of deltamethrin on Argas persicus within selected sites in Machakos and Kitui Counties, Semi-arid Eastern Kenya

E O Mungube, S M Nzioka and L W Wamae1

Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) Katumani Research Centre,
PO Box 340-90100 Machakos, Kenya
1 KARI Headquarters, P.O. Box 57811-00200 Nairobi, Kenya


Soft ticks are a constraint to indigenous chicken productivity in dry areas of Kenya. They suck blood from birds and as a result kill the birds. They also lower egg productivity and delay attainment of market weights. A pilot study to evaluate the effectiveness of deltamethrin application on chicken houses as a control strategy against this parasite was conducted between April 2010 and February 2011. The efficacy of two deltamethrin formulations, decatix and ectomin was tested and compared among selected members of four farmer groups in Mwingi and Katangi. In total, 4 purposively selected farmer groups (2 each for Katangi and Mwingi) with membership ranging from 9-10 members were used. Two of the groups were purely women groups while the other two had mixed membership. The selected groups were first sensitized on the objectives of the study before the pre-control soft tick populations in selected 39 members’ homesteads of members were established.

The flock size in the homesteads ranged between 10 and 40 chickens. Soft tick population on chicken houses in the study area was high with a mean population of between 35-54 soft ticks. Homesteads in Katangi had comparatively a higher soft tick populations than those in Mwingi. Both decatix and ectomin spraying on chicken houses reduced soft population by over 90% in both sites. Despite the significant reduction in soft tick counts, elimination of this pest was not possible. Although the findings of this study show that synthetic pyrethroids are effective in controlling soft ticks, more studies on deltamethrin application on birds need to be conducted before recommending to institutionalize the control of soft ticks within the already existing ick control framework within the country.

Key words: family poultry, foraging, indigenous chickens, village poultry


Family poultry, mainly the indigenous chickens (IC), is an integral component of the livelihoods of poor rural households and is likely to continue playing this role for the foreseeable future (FAO 2008). Poultry makes a substantial contribution to food, nutrition security and poverty alleviation in many countries around the world (Dolberg 2008; Alders and Pym 2009) and thus represents a major contribution towards achieving Millennium Development Goal 1 (halve the number of poor people in the world by 2015). It also contributes to achieving the MDGs with respect to gender equity and women’s empowerment and promoting the well-being of rural populations. Chickens can play an important role in providing additional resources to households with people living with HIV/AIDS. Although output may not be high, a great advantage of family poultry egg production is the frequent, if not daily, provision of nutrients of high biological value, which are ideally consumed by the vulnerable members of the households.

In the semi-arid region of Kenya where frequent droughts and associated crop failures occur as reported by Rao et al (2011), indigenous chickens (IC) rearing is an important activity in most rural households since they rescue households during periods of food scarcity. They hence are crucial for the resilient farming systems under the fragile environment of the arid and semi-arid areas (ASALs). This is possible since IC are hardy and adapt better under hot and dry environments as well as to inadequate feed resources compared to the other domestic animal species (Gichohi and Maina 1992). Moreover, the high poverty levels amongst the rural folk in Kenya makes IC the most appropriate enterprise particularly for the low resource rural households as starting an IC enterprise requires low start-up capital (Kingori et al 2010).

The productivity of IC is hampered by their slow growth rate, poor egg production and low reproductive performance (Miao et al 2005; Phiri et al 2007), high predation and high mortality rates due to diseases and parasitism (Mungube et al 2008). Mortality rates of the IC attributed to parasitism are aggravated by the low sanitation levels especially inside the chicken housing units, the natural resource base where birds scavenge for feed coupled with the poor and inaccessible animal health delivery system. In Kenya, although a number of poultry diseases like fowl pox, fowl typhoid, coccidiosis are reported to occur in poultry, Newcastle like epidemics are a major constraint to backyard poultry production and cause losses estimated to be millions of dollars annually (MoLD 2008).

Parasitism is also a major challenge to poultry productivity in Kenya especially in the drier zones (Mungube et al 2008; Sabuni et al 2010). In particular, ecto-parasites like soft ticks, fleas, lice and mites play an important role in the transmission of certain pathogens which cause heavy economic losses to poultry industry (Shah et al 2006; Mungube et al 2008; Sabuni et al 2010). The ecto-parasites cause heavy morbidity by sucking blood and causing irritation to the birds which adversely affects the economical production of poultry. Argas persicus (soft ticks) may cause ruffled feathers, anaemia, emaciation and lowered production. Heavy soft tick infestation causes loss of blood leading to anaemia and eventually death of birds (Bergstromet et al 1999). Chronic soft tick infestation leads to severe anaemia resulting in reduced egg production, loss of body weight and depression (Madbouly et al 1997; El Kammah et al 2002). It is reported that soft ticks including A. persicus, a chicken parasite and A. hermanni, a pigeon parasite feed repeatedly and rapidly, ingesting 5-10 times their initial body weight within minutes to a few hours (Oliver 1989).

In addition, A. persicus are also known to transmit certain parasitic, bacterial and viral diseases like leucocytozoonosis and encephalomyelitis (Permin and Hansen 1998), aegyptianellosis, pasteurellosis, avian borreliosis (Durden et al 2001) and fowl cholera (Urquhart et al 1996; Permin and Hansen 1998; El Kammah et al 2002). Toxins in the saliva of the tick especially the larval forms cause progressive ascending paralysis of the leg, wing and respiratory system (Rosenstein 1976).

Although information on the prevalence of soft ticks in Kenya is still scanty, reports about presence of A. persicus in the semi-arid areas have been documented (MoLD 2008; Mungube et al.2008; Sabuni et al 2010). Soft ticks have seriously undermined poultry rearing in the ASAL areas. Improving chicken housing by plastering walls and floors, sealing crevices and cracks are measures which effectively control soft ticks (Urquhart et al 1996). Unfortunately, this strategy is not easily enforceable in the ASAL areas owing to the high prevalence of poverty in these areas. Farmers build make shift chicken houses from tree stems and sticks and use these for housing their chickens. The make shift houses are burnt whenever soft tick populations build up reaches uncontrollable levels. In some instances, some farmers employ desperate measures such as pouring hot water or applying herbal concoctions made from pepper, neem extracts, Aloe vera extract and other shrubs on to the coops to repel the soft ticks.

Although there are reports which show that application of deltamethrin on the bodies of birds or on chicken houses results in significantly percent reductions in the population of soft ticks (Tian and Guan 1989), there is still a dearth of information on the efficacy of deltamethrin as a control strategy for soft ticks in Kenya. It is widely known that deltamethrin and to a limited extent organophosphates (OPs) in combination with carbaryl (sevin dusts) are effective in controlling soft ticks (Frolov et al 1985). However, variations in chicken production systems and particularly in the types of housing structures used in the various regions justify evaluation of such control strategies for their effectiveness in interrupting the lifecycle of soft ticks under the prevailing local conditions of makeshift chicken housing units. The present study reports on results of effectiveness of deltamethrin on reducing soft tick populations in the semi-arid eastern Kenya.


Description of study site

The study was conducted in Kithito area of Katangi District, Machakos County and in Munyumbuni area of Mwingi District, Kitui County. The two areas are quite dry and fall within the lower midland 5 (LM 5) (Jaetzold and Schmidt 2006). Both areas experience bimodal rainfall with the long rains starting in mid-March to early May and the short rains in mid-October to mid-December (Rao et al 2011). Total rainfall for the two seasons in both areas is approximately 450 mm and is quite erratic and is poorly distributed.

Agro-pastoralism is practiced where farmers commonly grow drought tolerant crops like cowpeas, pigeon peas green grams and cassava. Livestock species such as zebu cattle, the small East African and Galla goats and to a small extent red Masai sheep are reared. Over 90% of all the rural households in the semi-arid eastern Kenya rear indigenous chickens with flock sizes varying between 10 and 50 birds (Mungube et al 2008). These birds are maintained under the free range system of management.

Study site and farmer group selection

The two study sites were identified and purposively selected in March 2010 after reviewing the Ministry of Livestock Production Development annual reports from the Counties of Machakos and Kitui (MoLD 2008). The sites were selected because of their reported high number of households which had reported the problem of soft tick infestation.

In each of the two sites, existing farmer groups were identified through the help of staff from the Ministry of Livestock before two farmer groups were eventually selected from each site and used as pilot study units. The decision to use farmer groups as opposed to individual farmers was deliberate since it assisted in cost-effectively reaching and impacting on the livelihoods of as many farmers as possible within a short time. In Kithito area of Katangi site, Nzewani women group and Ngwate Ngukwate self-help group were selected while in the Mwingi site, Mituki ya iveti women group and Wikwatyo self help group were selected. The selection process for the farmer groups was also purposive since it targeted the farmer groups which had been in existence for over 5 years hence deemed to be more cohesive. Officers from the ministry and local administrative officials from the two areas.

Farmer group sensitization

After selecting the groups, members from the 4 groups were sensitized on the objectives of the study in March and April 2010. The members of the two groups in each site assembled in one point and sensitization done at once. During the sensitization meetings, membership of the groups was established before members share both individual as well as collective experience(s) with soft ticks with the investigating team; which was composed of a veterinarian and animal production specialist from KARI Katumani and staff from the LDP drawn from Katangi and Mwingi divisions. During the interactive sessions, the farmers were asked how they coped with the soft tick menace in their chicken houses before the investigating team listed some of the options available effective conventional methods for controlling soft ticks.

Pre-control soft tick population

In each of the 2 sites, the selected farmer groups were asked to volunteer 10 members from whose homesteads were used for evaluating the effectiveness of deltamethrin formulations; Ectomin® and Decatix® in disrupting the life cycle of A. persicus. In total, there were 20 members nominated from the Katangi site and another 20 from the Mwingi site. As a prerequisite, only members with a chicken house in their homesteads were selected. Additionally, only those members with a history of soft ticks in their chicken house were nominated as study farms.

A preliminary visit to the homesteads of the selected members was made and the chicken housing units physically checked for presence of soft ticks. Visual observations for the soft ticks lodged in between the weaved sticks was supplemented with the physical interference of the housing units by hitting on the walls and roofs with a plank of wood to ensure the soft ticks dropped on the ground to be identified and count. Where the chicken houses were made from dry sticks, the dry barks from the wooden planks were peeled off and the hidden ticks exposed before they were picked out with the help of forceps. The soft tick recovered from the houses were categorized as low when the count was less than 5 soft ticks, moderate when the ticks were between 5 and 10 and high when their population was more than 10.

Spraying of chicken houses

Prior to commencement of acaricide evaluation in the selected members’ homesteads, a demonstration on how to properly reconstitute the acaricides in water to ensure the right lethal dose is used. Participants were also shown how to properly set the knapsack sprayer nozzle to release a fine film during spraying was done in both sites. This was followed by a demonstration on how to spray the acaricide on the chicken houses to ensure the soft tick hiding points were targeted. This was crucial to ensure the participating members properly applied the acaricide as required.

The members commenced application of the acaricides on the chicken houses in April 2010. Two deltamethrin formulations Ectomin®, UltraVetis, Animal Health and Decatix®, Coopers Ltd, Kenya, were used as test acaricides during the study. Two groups; Ngwate Ngukwate group of Kithito in Katangi and Mituki ya Iveti group of Mwingi were issued with 200ml of Ectomin® 100EC while the other two groups; Nzewani women group in Katangi and Wikwatyo group in Mwingi received 200 ml of Decatix® solution at the start of the evaluation.

Since Ectomin® and Decatix® both have concentrations of 5%w/v it was decided that a double strength solution of 2ml (0.1mg) of acaricide in 10 litres of water was used instead of the recommended dilution of 1ml (0.05 mg) for every 10 litres of water owing to the unique biology of the soft ticks. This was because a longer residual period for the acaricide was required to penetrate into the hiding points and to retain a lethal dose to continue killing the ticks until the next spraying regime. The participating farmer groups were issued with instructions to ensure application of the test acaricides was done only in the mornings to minimize evaporation thus ensuring residual effect lasts longer.

Spraying was continuously done between April 2010 and February 2011. During the first month, spraying was done weekly before switching to biweekly spraying regime in the subsequent months of the study. The group chair persons from the participating farmer groups were tasked with ensuring spraying regimens were adhered to and that no acaricide was diverted to be used for spraying cattle and small ruminants. After exhausting the free seed acaricide issued by the investigating team, group members were advised to buy fresh supplies of Ectomin® or Decatix® to sustain the spraying.

Monitoring visits

Bimonthly visits were conducted to monitor the dynamics in the soft tick population following commencement of deltamethrin application. These visits were made in June 2010, August 2010, October 2010, December 2010 and February 2011. During the visits, selected members together with other group members accompanied the investigating team for them to assess and appreciate the changes in soft tick population following spraying with deltamethrin. As was the case with the pre-control soft tick population, visual observation and then physical interference of the housing units by hitting on the walls and roofs with a plank of wood for the soft ticks to drop down was done. Where the chicken houses were made from dry sticks, the dry barks from the wooden planks were peeled off and the hidden ticks exposed before they were picked out with the help of forceps. The soft ticks were counted at every visit to determine the population and compared with the population at the start of the spraying regime.

Data analysis

Descriptive statistics for soft ticks during the pre-control phase were summarized by farmer group. The mean soft population for the 10 farmers from every group was calculated for comparison purposes and differences in the means established by Chi square at 5%. Response of the insecticide effect was deduced by comparing the pre-control soft tick population with the population during the monitoring visits. Percent reduction in soft tick population was calculated as follows:

Pre-control soft population was establishing the soft tick population at the last monitoring visit then dividing with the pre-control population before multiplying this by 100 percent. Data were stored in MS Excel and analyzed using SPSS version 18.


In Katangi, 19 members from the two farmer groups (9 within Ngwate Ngukwate and 10 from Nzewani women group) participated in the study while in the Mwingi 20 members, 10 each for Wikwatyo and Mituki ya Iveti). Nzewani in Katangi and Mituki ya Iveti in Mwingi were exclusively made of women members while in the remaining two groups, had mixed membership with both female and male members. The chickens across the study sites were all indigenous eco-types reared under the scavenging system of management. The chickens were owned mainly by women. Flock sizes in the studied homesteads ranged between 10 and 40 chickens and consisted of birds of varying ages and sexes although the common scenario was homesteads having fewer cocks compared to hens and pullets.

In both Machakos and Kitui clusters, farmers made chicken houses using locally available materials. They made the chicken houses out of sticks (makeshift stick cages) which were suspended above the ground on poles fixed (Figures 1 and 2).

Figure 1. Makeshift stick cages for housing chickens Fig 2. Chickens in makeshift cage

Some farmer groups in the Mwingi cluster also made some chicken houses using mud bricks and placed old iron sheets on top to prevent the rain from directly reaching the inside of the chicken houses. The brick walled house stood about 1 metre above the ground and had a small opening used as a door.

There was no definite coping strategy for the soft ticks in both areas at the time the study commend. Nearly all participants reported using concoctions made from ‘Kiluma’ (Aloe vera), hot pepper, neem tree extracts, among others that were mixed in very hot water before splashing on chicken houses. In the Katangi cluster, whenever the soft ticks reached uncontrollable limits, the chicken housing units were abandoned before burning them down.

Pre-control soft tick population

The pre-control soft tick population in the participating farmer groups varied across the study clusters (Table 1).

Table 1. Descriptive statistics for the pre-control phase soft tick population by farmer group

Farmer group



Mean of

soft tick



95% CI

Ngwate Ngukwate






Nzewani women group












Mituki ya Iveti






Min =minimum; max = maximum and 95%=95 percent confidence interval

 Soft tick populations in homesteads belonging to Ngwate Ngukwate women group of Katangi cluster, Machakos County were slightly higher than those for Newani in Katangi and Wikwatyo and Mituki ya Iveti in Mwingi cluster of Kitui County (Table 1). Although the mean soft tick populations varied across the farmer groups, there was no significant difference (p>0.05; overlapped 95% CI) between the four farmer groups.

After aggregating soft ticks in the chicken housing units, a higher proportion of participants had high score of tick populations in their chicken houses (Table 2). Only Mituki ya iveti farmer group in Mwingi had 2 homesteads where there was low soft tick population.

Table 2. Soft tick scores by participating groups


Tick score

Participating farmer groups

Ngwate Ngukwate (n=9)

Nzewani women group (n =10)

Wikwatyo (n=10)

Mituki ya Iveti (n=10)

Low (0 to 5 ticks)

0 (0)

0 (0)

0 (0)

2 (20)

Moderate (5 to 10)

1 (11.1)

2 (20)

2 (20)

3 (30)

High (>10 ticks)

8 (88.9)

8 (80)

6 (60)

5 (50)

Figures in parentheses are percentages

Response of the soft ticks to Ectomin ® and Decatix ® spraying

In both counties, the relatively high soft tick population on chicken houses at the start of the deltamethrin spraying was significantly reduced by the test acaricides as shown in Figure 3 for Ectomin® and Figure 4 for Decatix®. Reduction in soft population attributed to Ectomin ® spraying was 94.4% and 93.0% for the Katangi and Mwingi sites, respectively. The reduction soft tick population in chicken houses due to Decatix® spraying was 91.4% and 93.3% for the Katangi and Mwingi sites, respectively. There were no significant difference (p>0.05) in the potency of Ectomin® and that of Decatix® in reducing soft tick populations in the two areas.

This reduction in soft tick population was gradual and by the time third monitoring visit was done, the population had declined to near zero for both deltamethrin formulations and remained low for the rest of the monitoring visits.

Figure 3.  Effect of ectomin spraying on Argas Prsicus population
in chicken houses in the Katangi and Mwingi clusters

Figure 4.  Response of A. persicus ticks to Decatix spraying on chicken houses in the Katangi and Mwingi clusters.


The results of this study show that A. persicus affected rearing of the IC in the semi-arid areas of Kenya. This is in agreement with Cahn and Line (2005) who have reported that soft ticks occur in the tropical and sub-tropical regions or in warm temperate environments with long dry seasons. Under these conditions the soft ticks shelter in protected niches or crevices in wood or rocks, or in host nests or roosts, in burrows or caves. In the study areas, the soft ticks were found in the make shift chicken houses made from sticks and in some instances in the poorly mud wall houses with numerous cracks and crevices on the walls and floors. Since the birds are reared under the scavenging system in semi-arid areas, the ticks spent much of the time hidden during the day and only attack birds at night when they come back to roost in the soft inhabited houses.

The pre-control phase of the study showed that soft tick population is high and if not controlled can be hindrance to chicken productivity directly through blood sucking (Bergestromet 1999; El Kammah et al 2002, Cahn and Line 2005) or indirectly by serving as vectors of chicken diseases (Urquhart et al 1996; Permin and Hansen 1998; Durden 2001; Cahn and Line 2005). The inhabitants of semi-arid Kenya with an estimated 4 million indigenous chickens (MoLD 2008) lose millions of shillings in lost revenue due to the high prevalence of soft ticks as was reported by studies in Egypt (El Kammah et al 2002) and the north eastern parts of Tanzania (Swai et al 2007). Although quantification of prevalence of soft ticks has not been comprehensively done in Kenya, the extent of this problem could be affecting much of the over 70% of the country which is characterized as ASAL (Swai et al 2007; MoLD 2008). The observed high A. persicus prevalence by the current study is hence another milestone in the record of tick distribution in Kenya and calls for a comprehensive tick control strategies encompassing soft ticks as a means of promoting chicken productivity.

Informal interviews with farmers revealed that they used no conventional control strategy against soft ticks. They used unconventional methods like burning of the make shift stick houses whenever the soft tick population build up became uncontrollable. In addition, they mixed concoctions from pepper, neem tree, Aloe vera extracts among others which they sprayed on the makeshift poultry houses. These concoctions only served as repellents as they only offered temporary relief by suppressing the soft tick populations for a limited duration before the soft tick population increased yet again. The reason there is no control strategy for soft ticks in Kenya is because the state veterinary has no policy guidelines on how to control these ticks. This is despite the fact that Kenya has one of the most elaborate ixodid hard tick control policy in the East and Central African region which is backed up by two Acts of parliament ‘cattle cleansing act’ CAP 358 and the Pest Control Produce Act, Cap 346 of the laws of Kenya.

Despite clear gaps in the policy guidelines in controlling soft ticks using acaricides in Kenya, the findings of this study showed that synthetic pyrethroids (SPs) can be helpful in controlling soft ticks. The application of SPs on chicken houses significantly reduced the population of soft ticks in full agreement with similar evaluations where deltamethrin whose acaricidal effect significantly lowered A. persicus population on chickens (Tain and Guan 1989; Ramadan 2009). Although in the present study, on chicken houses were treated with SPs, it is helpful if birds are also treated to target larvae and nymphs that tend to remain hidden under wings of birds unlike adults that drop off after getting fully engorged. This was confirmed in a study where chicken legs were dipped in 0.05 % deltamethrin which resulted in reductions of 80%, 90%, and 100 % of adults, nymphs, and larvae, respectively, within one day with the acaricidal effect lasting for 5 days (Tain and Guan 1989).

Soft tick reduction is even much higher due to the prolonged residual effect of the acaricide where whole birds are dipped in deltamethrin (0.05 %). Complete reduction (100 %) in the number of ticks till the end of the third week post-treatment has been reported (Ramadan 2009).

Since sunlight does not break synthetic pyrethroids down, they stick to surfaces for weeks, killing any bypassing insect, which explains the prolonged effect of deltamethrin (Bauer et al 1995; Dubey et al 2011). It is reported that the residual activity of deltamethrin remains effective post-treatment for 5 weeks (Montasser et al 2011) and 6 weeks (Rozilawati et al 2005). This is hence a good and cost-effective acaricide to recommend for regions like the ASALs of Kenya with reported high poverty levels as farmers will not need to regularly replenish their acaricide stocks.

It also worth noting that even with deltamethrin spraying, it may not be possible to completely eliminate the soft ticks from a given location. This is because of the unique developmental stage of this parasite where at any given point in time all stages are present (Urquhart et al., 1996). Since in the present study spraying was targeted at the housing units only yet the soft tick larvae are mostly found attached on the birds with a possibility of remaining attached and continuously feeding for 2–7 days, it was definitely not possible for the acaricide applied to the chicken houses to have helped eliminate this developmental stage (Urquhart et al., 1996; Cahn and Line, 2005). Under this circumstance, it may become necessary to apply the acaricide directly on chicken houses as well as the birds themselves (Tian and Guan 1989). Reports of the inability of deltamethrin to completely eliminate other harmful insects such as tsetse flies have also been documented (Bauer et al 1995; 1999, Mungube et al 2012).

Since ticks as well as most arthropod vectors like tsetse flies are opportunistic feeders with many alternative hosts including bats, wild ruminants, wild birds and certain reptiles this allows them enough flexibility to evade sustained control interventions in farm animals by turning to wild animals for their feeding needs (Bauer et al 1995; Bauer et al 1999; Cahn and Line 2005). It is also possible that continuous and frequent exposure to acaricidal treatment may also result in soft ticks becoming tolerant to the used acaricides especially if the farmers use understrength solutions. This may not be ruled out given that already reports on acaricide resistance particularly affecting organophosphates (OPs) group 1, group 2 and amidines/amitrazes on Bophilus decolaratus have emerged in various parts of Kenya (Njagi 2013).

This resistance is suspected to be as a result of a tendency to use understrength acaricide to spray as many animals as possible using less acaricide owing to the perceived high cost of acaricides. This increases the selection pressure of acaricide resistant tick populations. Similarly, the weekly acaricide spraying regimes commonly used in Kenya may not be well suited for controlling parasites with developmental cycles similar to those like the one host ticks like B. decolaratus which takes 21 days to develop from larvae to adult ticks (Urquhart et al., 1996). Longer spraying regimes are advisable others the weekly spraying exposes too many ticks to acaricide hence accelerating resistance development. As strategy to contain the resultant resistance against Ops, the Director of Veterinary Services through Legal notice No. 212 of 5th Dec. 2003 authorized switch over to synthetic pyrethroids (Njagi, 2013). Perhaps exploiting the refugia concept is likely to help prolong the use of synthetic pyrethroids in the control of soft ticks owing to the unique biology of ticks that involves several developmental stages (eggs, larvae, nymph and adults) meaning that at no particular time can the parasite exist as adults (Urquhart et al 1996).

Total elimination of soft ticks in areas where they are endemic may be practically impossible if control of these parasites is solely on the basis of a single approach. Past experience has shown that adopting an integrated approach especially while controlling tsetse flies was effective (Mungube et al 2012). This therefore means that if elimination of soft ticks is to be achieved, an integrated approach involving insecticide application as well as promoting good housing practices like plastering walls and floors chicken houses needs to be adopted.




We are appreciative of the funding from World Bank that enabled this study to be actualized. Farmer groups are also thanked for accepting to be part of the study and lastly the extension staff. Director General of the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) and Centre Director, KARI Katumani Research Centre are thanked for providing logistical support.


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Received 2 September 2014; Accepted 30 October 2014; Published 1 December 2014

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